Thursday, October 14, 2010

Patch day, once again

Tuesday was patch day in WOW.  In particular it was the 4.0 patch, which means that WOW is undergoing massive changes to prepare for the new expansion.  Talent trees have been totally redesigned, combat systems are completely different, gear is not the same; the numbers of the game are completely rewritten and new though the world remains unchanged.  As must always be the case when so much happens in a single day there are some classes that end up way too good and some that are way too bad.  I logged in on Tuesday and discovered that I was in the second group.  My damage was paltry compared to what I managed before and I was totally unable to beat anyone when I went to try pvp - even against people of inferior skill and gear I simply had no way to win.  I found this experience really interesting considering how things went in the 3.0 patch 2 years ago where I was incredibly overpowered.

I remember how fun and hilarious it was years ago when the developers made mistakes that made Retribution Paladins (my particular variety of character) really too good.  I walked into battlegrounds and just blew people to pieces with no effort.  I wasn't any tougher than them but I killed everyone within 4 seconds or so and it took them 10 seconds to kill me so no one could stand up to me.  I often jumped into fights with 4 opponents at once with the expectation that I would kill at least 2 of them before I died and often ended up beating all of them by myself if they were stupid or badly geared.  I had enough self awareness to know that it wasn't by any great skill of mine that I was smashing all before me but rather through a mistake of the developers.  Of course Blizzard noticed how absurd the situation was and fixed it but it was a fun 3 weeks of mauling people, which I considered great justice for the years of being terrible I had endured prior.

This week though the shoe is on the other foot.  I was terrible and it is hard to go out and play when you know for a fact that you are going to be bad regardless of what you do.  No amount of practice, skill, or preparation would allow me to defeat a Mage who was even barely competent and it is the most disheartening thing in the world to know that your inability to win is completely in the hands of someone else.  Of course, many others who experienced this went to the forums and spewed hatred and vitriol everywhere, cursing Blizzard and begging for release from their torment while I just logged off and did something else.  It is easy to think that the best way to fix your problem is to blow up in anger and join your fellows in apoplectic explosions of vulgarity, giving in to the misconception that somehow the people who program the game hate your class and in fact you personally.  They don't, and by and large they want the game to be both balanced and fun and they are getting pretty good at it.  Not as good as me, mind, but one must be realistic.

Blizzard, not wanting to wait 3 weeks this time, stepped in and made some drastic changes today.  They said that they were buffing Retribution Paladins as well as a few others and I wondered if they really understood just how much was going to be necessary to achieve balance.  I logged in and noticed that most of my abilities hit for about 50% more than they did the day before and it seemed clear that now I was suddenly competitive again.  No more angst necessary.  Chalk one up in the win column for Blizzard Entertainment.


  1. I was very pleased to see my class nerfed. Remember back when the judgement from Seal of Blood was at it's height and a critical could mean knocking off a third of your health? Shadow Word: Death was like that. The big difference being that once the enemy is under 25% health you chain cast it. The only thing that made me live through that heroic we played together was that the enemies were never between 25% and 0% health for more than a few seconds.

  2. Oh, to make the parallel more perfect, Shadow Priests need to use Shadow Word: Death as part of their rotation or they'll run out of mana.

  3. Heh, they didn't learn that having a dpser who absolutely must knock off huge chunks of their own health to play is bad, hmmm? I remember healers complaining about how much damage I did to myself back then.

  4. That's ok, healer mana is infinite.

  5. Well, until level 85 healing mana really is infinite. Much more infinite than it was pre-patch. I can't spend down my mana if I try.